A strategic partnership has been signed between the UK and Sweden aimed at "reinvigorated and deepened cooperation across the bilateral relationship, including on security and defence, innovation, science, energy and climate, people to people and trade and investment". It includes cooperation on nuclear reactor technologies, including small modular reactors, and diversifying nuclear fuel supplies.

The strategic partnership was signed by Sunak (left) and Kristersson (Image: Gov.UK)

Signed on 13 October during a meeting between Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the strategic partnership followed a visit by Kristersson to London on 19 June. During that visit, Kristersson and Sunak agreed to draft and sign a strategic bilateral partnership agreement by the end of the year.

In the document, the UK and Sweden say they will work to promote higher international ambitions on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and target joint cooperation to limit warming to 1.5℃. "Together, we will accelerate action in the energy sector to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with our respective national targets, including solutions for security of energy supply, civil nuclear energy, hydrogen in industrial decarbonisation and energy storage, as well as heating and cooling."

The partners said they will collaborate on civil nuclear and renewable energy technology and other research areas contributing to the transition to a green economy.

"Both governments acknowledge the importance of existing and new nuclear energy plants and the potential for new and emerging nuclear energy technologies, including small modular reactors (SMRs) to be developed in shaping the future of the civil nuclear sector and achieving net-zero in accordance with our respective national targets," the agreement says. "The United Kingdom and Sweden will establish a dialogue on civil nuclear cooperation, including advanced nuclear technologies. This dialogue will facilitate sharing of learning, insights and experiences on new nuclear deployment, including regulatory cross assessment, financing and funding models, siting, plant operation, nuclear skills and supply chains."

The UK and Sweden will explore further opportunities for collaboration on fusion energy.

Both countries said they recognise the importance of regulatory exchange in enabling the deployment of SMRs and support the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority's commitment to cooperate and exchange information on matters of civil nuclear regulation. "Both sides will support, where appropriate, sharing of information and best practice in multilateral fora, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency."

The UK and Sweden also said they will explore opportunities to "drive divestment from Russian nuclear fuel supply and support other countries to divest". Both countries agreed to "support resilient nuclear fuel supply chains for the benefit of our respective fleets, including existing reactors and new build projects".

The Swedish government noted the strategic partnership with the UK is a political declaration of intent in line with Sweden's obligations under EU law.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Wednesday, 18 October 2023
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Sweden-and-UK-agree-to-enhance-cooperation-in-nucl